The summer months of June, July, and August are the deadliest days for teenage drivers, accounting for 43 percent of yearly teen car crashes. Car accidents for teens are 26 percent higher during the summer than other months of the year.
The Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers
Teen drivers normally face higher risks for deadly car crashes than older drivers, but during the summer months, fatality risks from teen driver accidents rise by 14 percent. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day prove to be the 100 deadliest driving days for teenage drivers. The months of June, July, and August account for 43 percent of teen-driver involved car crashes. During this period, an average of 10 people die every day from car accidents resulting in personal injuries. In 2016, over 1,050 people were killed in summer car crashes involving teenage drivers.
Teens also have the highest rates of crashes that result in the deaths of other people including occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. During the summer months when teens are out of school, recreational activities with other teens contribute to the deadly rise in teen involved crashes. When a teenage driver has only teenage passengers and no adults in the car, the risk for fatal crashes increases by as much as 51 percent. When other teens are in the car, fatal crash rates rise by 56% for occupants in other vehicles, 45% for teen drivers, and 17% for cyclists and pedestrians.
What Causes a Rise in Deadly Summer Crashes?
According to 2015 data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an estimated 195,000 teen drivers between ages 15 and 20 suffered severe injuries in car crashes. An estimated 1,886 teens died from their injuries. In 2016, there were over 1 million police-reported car crashes involving teen drivers, accounting for the deaths of 3,270 people.
Accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show that 75 percent of car accidents involving teen drivers are caused by lack of driving experience, lack of attention to the road, and critical errors in judgment. The most common factors that contribute to deadly teen car crashes include:
- Speeding and reckless driving behaviors
- Distracted driving involving a cell phone
- Impaired driving caused by alcohol, drugs, and fatigue
- Bad weather and hazardous road conditions
- Lack of attention to the road and surroundings
- Talking and interacting with other teens in the car
The lack of driving knowledge and experience causes teen drivers to take a lot of dangerous risks on the road. Inexperience causes teen drivers to underestimate dangers and overlook hazardous driving conditions. They often make critical errors in judgment related to safe braking and steering, tailgating, passing other cars, and oncoming traffic. Teen drivers often spend time talking and texting on a cell phone, changing the radio stations, eating and drinking, and having loud conversations with friends in the car. It only takes two minutes for a fatal crash to occur.
Traffic safety studies show that driver reaction times are significantly decreased by high speeds, distractions, alcohol and/or drugs, and fatigue. In bad weather when roads are wet or icy, it takes much longer to stop safely than in normal conditions. Attorneys in Henderson NV commonly see an increase in serious and fatal car crashes due to skidding and hydroplaning during bad weather conditions.
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Although attorneys in Henderson NV have seen a drop in fatality rates, teens still remain three times more likely to die in a car crash than adult drivers. Law enforcement and safety advocates urge parents to get involved and pay attention to their teens’ driving behaviors. Driver education, proper driving instructions, parent supervision, and driving rules can prevent a fatal crash.
Invest in a Safe Driving Course
State-approved safe driving courses can help teens gain driving skills and experience. Affordable safe driving courses that last from 6 to 12 hours are offered in-person and online. Many auto insurance providers offer discounts for attending these courses.
Supervise Driving Behaviors
Since most teens lack the necessary experience for safe driving, parents should supervise driving and establish rules. Limiting the number of passengers, especially teen passengers, can prevent distractions and risky behaviors. Restricting nighttime driving after 9 p.m. can reduce accidents. IIHS reports show that most fatal crashes for teen drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Set Driving Rules
It’s important that teen drivers understand injury and fatality risks of risky driving behaviors. Parents should set rules and enforce them to keep their teens safe behind the wheel.
- Buckle up
- Slow down
- Pay attention
- Hang up the phone
- Don’t drink and drive
- Watch the weather